This post contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. Thanks.
Eyeshadow base is necessary to make a good quality, long lasting eyeshadows. Eyeshadow base is just a simple mix of colorless ingredients that provide necessarily properties to your eyeshadows. It helps the product to stick to the skin better, stay longer, absorbs excess oils, provides smooth texture, nice slip and coverage.
There is no one correct way to mix these base ingredients. Most of them have similar properties and can be substituted by each other. This is important if you are sensitive to one or the other ingredient. Each mix will, of course, provide different results (opacity, adhesion, staying power, smoothness and etc.). Some mixtures will work better for sparkly eyeshadows and some will be better for the matte finish. Feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.
A very simple and effective eyeshadow filler/base recipe is:
+ 1 part Titanium Dioxide (77891)
+ 1/2 part Mica (77019)
+ 1/4 part Magnesium Stearate
If you are just starting out I would recommend this recipe as it is only three ingredients and all are easy to get. If making your own eyeshadow base seems like too much work, you can always purchase premade eyeshadow base. You can read about different types of premade bases and eyeshadow making here.
If you already have some eyeshadow making experience or just feel confident about the process, then I have some more great eyeshadow filler/base recipes.
Eyeshadow filler/base recipes
- 1 tsp Mica + 1/4 silica + 1/2 tsp zinc oxide + 1/2 tsp titanium dioxide
- 1 treated sericite mica + 1/4 titanium dioxide + 1/4 rice starch
- 1/2 Zinc Oxide + 1 Silk Mica + 4 Kaolin Clay + 1/2 Pearl Mica
- 1/4 Titanium dioxide+ 1/8 zinc oxide + 3 kaolin clay + 1 rice flour
As you see options are limitless. It all depends on your particular likes and dislikes, skin sensitivities and etc.
To be honest making shimmery eyeshadows is very easy. Mainly because you use mica powders to achieve the look and mica powders are very easy to work with. Making matte eyeshadows is a different story. To make matte shadows you need to use less mica (because it gives shimmer) and more oxide pigments. Oxide pigments do not have a natural slip and do not feel good on the skin on its own. Therefore, you need to use different filler base for these pigments to have a nice slip on your skin. Also, matte shadows will need more filler base and less colorant in their formula. Again this is to achieve that nice slip and smooth texture. But do not worry. Oxide pigments are more potent than mica powders so it is alright to add less of them.
Good eyeshadow base/filler recipes for matte eyeshadows:
------ * ------
7 teaspoons Rice Powder (cosmetic grade)
2 teaspoons Titanium dioxide
1 1/2 teaspoon Zinc oxide
1 teaspoon Kaolin clay
1 teaspoon Satin pearl mica
1/2 teaspoon Magnesium stearate
1 teaspoon mica coated with carnauba
------ * ------
------ * ------
1 Dash Magnesium Myristate Serecite
1 Pinch Pashmica (mica+silica)
1 Pinch Nylon 12 (gives opacity)
------ * ------
Eyeshadow base ingredients:
At this point, you are probably a little bit confused with all the ingredients. To help you better understand eyeshadow base ingredients and what they do I have created a short list of most popular ingredients:
Mica (Sericite Mica)
Mica comes in a form of white powder. It reflects light and provides an optical shimmer. Gives products a very smooth feel and provides medium adhesion.
Pashmica is a mix of natural mineral mica and smooth Silica (also a natural mineral). Gives the product smooth feel, applies to the skin well, absorbs oil, prevents caking.
It is a white, opaque and naturally-occurring mineral. It is chemically processed to remove any impurities, leaving pure, white pigment available for use. Titanium oxide is often used in face foundations because it allows the skin to breathe. It provides amazing whitening and light scattering properties and is a great opacifier. Which means your colors will pop more.
Is also known as “bare-faced” mineral and does not clog the pores.
A good brand to buy ingredients for DIY eyeshadow is MakingCosmetics. You can purchase good quality titanium oxide from here.
Magnesium Myristate Sericite
This is basically mica treated with magnesium myristate. It gives products a smooth feel, improves skin adhesion, improves compression of pressed powders, and increases the wear time of color cosmetics.
It is a white, odorless, vegetable derived powder. Its main function is to provide adhesion. Magnesium Stearate repels water and absorbs oil. Because of that, your makeup products will stay on the skin all day. It also makes it a great ingredient for women with oily skin. Due to its adhesive properties, magnesium stearate works wonders when making pressed powders. It also helps to reduce the transparency of the product and helps to achieve a matte finish.
You can get Magnesium Stearate for your DIY eye shadows here.
Zinc oxide powder provides good coverage and is great for hiding imperfections. It is added to eyeshadows or blush base to lighten the color and improve adhesion. It also has some soothing, antiseptic and anti-microbial properties (classified under category 1 (skin protectant) in the US).
Note: Zinc oxide can be quite clumpy. If you find it difficult to work with, just sieve it before using and the problem will be gone.
Silica Powder (Amorphous Silica)
Silica comes in a form of smooth, translucent powder. It is used in cosmetics due to its oil absorbing properties. It has some light scattering properties and therefore helps to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Additionally, it works as a thickening agent. Silica is successfully used in hypoallergenic test formulations. Here is the link to buy it.
Note: Silica powder used in cosmetics is Amorphous Silica. It is used in makeup and toothpaste and is not unhealthy. There is a big misunderstanding regarding silica powders being cancerogenic. Only Crystalline silica, which is highly abrasive and used in grinding and sandblasting projects, is unhealthy. Amorphous Silica (found in makeup) and Hydrated Silica (found on the top list of toothpaste ingredients) are safe to use and have no health concerns. It is easy to confuse different types of silica powder and that's where this misinformation on the internet is coming from.
Rice powder is a lightweight, translucent powder. It is well known for its oil absorbing properties. And the fact that it absorbs oil slowly makes it perfect for dry skin. It provides silky application when used in mineral formulas and helps makeup stay on longer.
Kaolin Clay is a fine, soft, white mineral powder. It is the most versatile and purest out of all other clays. It provides medium coverage so is great for hiding imperfections, fine lines and achieving a smooth texture. Most important, kaolin clay is highly absorbent and adhesive, which makes it a valuable ingredient in most makeup formulations.
Arrowroot is a natural ingredient. It’s a type of starch and is used as a thickener in food. It absorbs oil, therefore, helps your make up to stay on longer. Arrowroot comes as a white powder, therefore, will lighten your color formulation.
As the name suggests, cornstarch is obtained from corn. When used in mineral makeup it provides a silky, dry feel. It also absorbs excess oils. Cornstarch tends to be quite grainy. In order for it to work well in your cosmetics formula, you should first grind it with a blender to get a smoother texture.
As I mentioned before, these ingredients can replace each other as they perform similar functions. For example, Magnesium Stearate, zinc oxide and kaolin clay all provide adhesion and can be used together or separately. Magnesium stearate, kaolin clay, silica powder, rice powder - absorb oil, which is important so that makeup would last longer and would not cake. Knowing this you can create many different formulations. Try these recipes out, modify, experiment and let me know how it went!
I hope you found this useful. Let me know what recipe worked best for you!